Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Amazing Photograph

So yesterday's released image of the Phoenix lander in descent was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg of that image. Even the imager people were so intent on looking for the lander that they missed the proverbial forest for the trees. Check it out:

It's stunning. The caption from the HiRISE folks reads:

So it turns out that the descent of Phoenix is actually visible in the browse scale image. This image is reduced in scale by a factor of ten which reduces a lot of noise. What’s more astounding is that directly line-of-sight in the background is giant Heimdall Crater! Yesterday’s image made everyone’s jaw drop but this one is mind-blowing. The tiny image below is linked to the browse scale image.

This oblique view has been rotated so the crater is facing up. Phoenix, caught in its Promethean act, is between 8 and 10 kilometers above the surface, descending in the foreground at a distance of approximately 20 kilometers from the crater. It’s landing site was ultimately beyond the crater’s ejecta blanket.

The inset is an enhanced version at full resolution, showing some details of the parachute.

I also found out that this image was taken about 20 seconds after the parachute had deployed. Good timing!

1 comment:

Denis said...

Absolutely breathtaking! Watched the press conference on the web, and it was incredible, but the resolution on the web shows how amazing this photo is!

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